Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Cullen Skink

On Saturday, I attended what seems to be rapidly becoming an annual tradition - Trafalgar Day (It must be a real thing, it's got its own wikipedia page...) which regular readers will remember, last year I made some hilariously inedible ships biscuits to take with me.

The good Admiral...
This year, amongst the colossal amounts of rum being drunk, and the highly inaccurate re-telling of Nelson's victory against the Villeneuve and the French (I don't remember Gerard Depardieu being a member of the Napoleonic French Navy...) we were served some lovely Fisherman's Soup (And it was very nice, thanks Mrs Atkinson) which was, to all intents and purposes Cullen Skink.

Cullen Skink, besides having the best name of any soup, is a rather nice fish and potato soup from Scotland, made from smoked haddock (although originally made from beef).  It's very similar to a chowder, (and I always think of The Simpsons when I think of chowder - it's pronounced 'Show-dare') and seemed to fit nicely with our nautically themed evening, so I thought I'd have a go at re-creating it for the blog

I have to admit to a vague phobia about fish, and especially fish with the head on - I don't know what it is, and I'm not normally squeamish about foodstuffs (see Tripe Soup or my love of Black Pudding for evidence)  However, fish staring at me with their dead, Doll-like eyes makes my stomach turn.  So haddock fillets are great as they don't look up at you as you cook them!  Also, most recipes recommend not using the dyed fish (bright yellow) but I couldn't find the non-dyed variety in the supermarket.  The soup, I'm glad to say, didn't take on a bizarre yellowish hue though

The flavour of this soup is nice and delicate, but improves if you make it a day before and keep it in the fridge overnight.
300g Smoked Haddock
1l Milk
1 Medium Onion
1 Large Potato
2 Small Leeks
Spring Onions
Bay Leaf
Salt and Pepper
40g Butter

1.  In a large pan, put the haddock, bay leaf, parsley and milk.  Bring to the boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer (making sure the milk doesn't stick) for 6 minutes, poaching the haddock.  Turn the fish after 3 minutes, so it cooks on both sides.

2.  Remove the pan form the heat, set aside the fish and reserve the milk.

3.  Finely chop the leeks - white parts only, onions and potatoes.  Heat the butter in your soup pan and then gently fry the vegetables for 8-10 minutes, until they start to soften.

4.  Add the milk that the haddock was cooked in, back to the soup pan.

5.  Flake the fish, removing the skin and any bones, then add that to the soup too.  Bring to the boil and then simmer, cooking the soup for 15-20 minutes.

6.  Check seasoning, adding the grated nutmeg at this point, garnish with finely sliced spring onions and serve in warm bowls with hearty bread.  Enjoy!

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